How Long Does Meth Stay in Your System For?

Apr 2024 How Long Does Meth Stay in Your System For?

How long does meth stay in your system? Once your body has eliminated the drug, can you still test positive on a drug screen? What types of physical and psychological harm can meth use cause? Knowing the answers to these questions can help you keep yourself and your loved ones safe from the twin scourges of meth abuse and meth addiction.

How Long Does Meth Stay in Your System? 

People typically ask the question, how long does meth stay in your system, for one of two reasons:

  • To understand how long they may continue to feel the drug’s effects
  • To determine how long they may test positive on a drug screen

We’ll discuss how quickly meth’s effects can occur and how long they usually last in the next section. Here, we’ll answer the question from a drug screening perspective.

The length of time that you may test positive for meth can be influenced by several factors, including:

  • How much meth you used
  • How long you have been using meth
  • Your age, weight, and metabolism
  • What type of drug screen you complete

It’s also important to note that drug screens don’t only test for the actual presence of meth in your system. They may also look for metabolites, which are byproducts that are created as your body processes and eliminates meth from your system. If certain metabolites are present, that is conclusive proof that you have recently used meth.

Here are estimated detection timelines for four types of drug screens:

  • Saliva: You may test positive on a saliva screening for up to four days after your most recent meth use.
  • Urine: A urine test may detect meth for up to five days after the last time you used the drug.
  • Blood: Blood tests have the shortest detection span. They usually won’t be able detect meth for longer than three days after you last used the drug.
  • Hair: Hair follicle tests have by far the longest detection span. They may return a positive result for meth as long as 90 days after the last time you used the drug.

What Does Meth Do to Your Body?

In addition to knowing how long does meth stay in your system, you should also be aware of the impact that this drug can have on your body and your mind. Let’s start by reviewing the potential immediate and long-term physical effects of meth.

Short-Term Physical Effects

When you ingest meth, the drug can quickly cause the following physical changes:

  • Racing or irregular heart rate
  • Hyperthermia (elevated body temperature)
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Rapid breathing
  • Increased energy
  • Decreased need for sleep
  • Diminished appetite

If you smoke meth, these initial effects will usually occur within a few seconds and last for up to six hours. If you inject the drug, the effects will also begin almost instantaneously, and may last as long as eight hours.

The two other common means of ingesting meth – by snorting it or swallowing it – are associated with a slower onset but longer duration of effects. Depending on which technique you use, it can take five to 15 minutes before you start to feel the effects, but they may endure for up to 12 hours.

When the initial rush of meth use ends, it can be followed by a dramatic crash in mood and energy. To maintain their high and avoid the crash, some people use meth multiple times over several hours or days. This is often referred to as going on a meth binge.

Long-Term Physical Effects

Using meth even once can be dangerous. Using the drug several times, whether by choice or because you have become addicted to it, can put you at risk for long-term physical harm, including:

  • Tooth decay and other forms of severe dental damage (which is often referred to as “meth mouth”
  • Damage to the liver, lungs, and kidneys
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Increased risk of heart attack and stroke
  • Sores and abscesses from excessive scratching or skin picking
  • Physical injuries due to aggressive or reckless behaviors
  • Exposure to HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B, and other bloodborne diseases
  • Malnutrition

The risk of severe, potentially irreversible health damage underscores the importance of seeking professional care to help you end your meth use. The longer you resist the idea of getting help, the greater your risk becomes of incurring catastrophic harm.

What Does Meth Do to Your Mental Health?

As bad as the physical effects of meth can be, they are not the only type of damage that this drug can inflict. The psychological impact of meth use can cause short- and long-term changes in how you think, feel, and act.

Short-Term Mental Health Effects

Starting with the immediate aftermath of using meth, the drug’s short-term mental health effects can include:

  • Boost in motivation
  • Increased confidence
  • Improved focus and concentration
  • Euphoria

Long-Term Effects on Mental Health

Over time, continued meth use can cause an array of debilitating mental health concerns, such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Agitation and irritability
  • Poor judgment 
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Dramatic mood swings
  • Psychosis

The psychological impact of chronic meth use can also lead to an array of dangerous behaviors. Paranoia, hallucinations, and delusions can push people to lash out with anger or violence. Poor judgement, and mood swings can increase a person’s propensity for recklessness, which can include polysubstance abuse, unsafe sex, and driving while impaired by meth or other drugs.

The negative effects of compulsive meth use can spread to virtually every part of your life, causing problems such as:

  • Ruined relationships with friends and family members
  • Separation, divorce, and loss of child custody
  • Being arrested and jailed
  • Inability to find and keep a job
  • Financial devastation
  • Social withdrawal or ostracization
  • Homelessness

When you get the right type of treatment for meth addiction, you can achieve successful recovery. During treatment, you can also begin to address any physical, psychological, or social damage that your addiction has caused.

Begin Meth Addiction Treatment at Phoenix Rising Recovery 

Phoenix Rising Recovery offers a full continuum of care for adults who have become addicted to meth and other substances.

Your options at our meth addiction treatment center in Palm Springs, California, include detox, residential rehab, partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient programming, and traditional outpatient services. In each of these programs, you can expect to follow a customized plan that reflects your unique needs, goals, and expectations. You can also expect to benefit from the guidance and support of a team of highly skilled professionals.

To learn more about how we can help you end your meth use, or to schedule a free assessment, please visit our Contact page or call us today.